How to Forget

March 5, 2017
(was 05.29.2016)

Sometimes it's better to forget than to remember. Maybe it's an embarrassing photo on Facebook. Or perhaps a collective memory that's been used by certain ethnic groups to stir up hatred of their enemies. We explore the science, history and philosophy of memory. Plus, filmmaker Whit Stillman on his film adaptation of a forgotten Jane Austen novel.

  1. How Embarrassing!

    Have you ever had something happen to you that's SO embarrassing.... you wish could forget it? Well, listen to these truly humiliating stories.

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  2. Meg Leta Jones on the Right to be Forgotten

    Suppose you drank too much at that party last night and some embarrassing pictures of you got posted on Facebook. Do you have a right to delete them? In Europe, you now have that legal right. But Georgetown University's Meg Jones says Americans are still sorting out conflicting demands for privacy and free speech in the digital age.

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  3. War, Peace and Historical Memory

    You've heard the saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Journalist David Rieff thinks that's rubbish, and he says if you want peace, it's sometimes better to forget historical crimes than try to get justice.

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  4. The Woman Who Never Forgets

    Suppose you could remember every day of your life. Would that be a blessing or a curse? For Jill Price it's been a burden. She has a very rare form of memory that gives her nearly total recall.

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  5. The Science of Remembering

    Memory is a hot topic in neuroscience, and it turns out the context of our memories is as important as the event itself. Dartmouth neuroscientist Jeremy Manning has found that people can intentionally forget past experiences by changing how they think about the context of their memories.

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  6. Simon Critchley on Memory Palaces

    Before the Internet, a good memory wasn't just useful; it was prized as a sign of intelligence. And there were memory geniuses who developed mental tricks for storing information. Philosopher and novelist Simon Critchley delves into the fascinating history of the memory palace, which once promised almost God-like wisdom.

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  7. Whit Stillman on Jane Austen

    Jane Austen abandoned her novel "Lady Susan," but filmmaker Whit Stillman has revivied it - in a new film and novel, both called "Love and Friendship." He talks about why he loves Austen and the 18th century.

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